Swiss Sunday

We haven’t been able to visit Switzerland since 2015 but it still remains very special to our little Yorkshire family. One day we will return but in the mean time let’s take a virtual trip to this beautiful land.

In these troubled times there are certain thoughts that I cling onto. Thoughts that are so dear to me that they always part the clouds and make the sun shine. One such thought is that Switzerland is there. It’s still there and is most definitely still that beautiful.

Polar express

A beautiful train line in the distance. Even beautiful at night…

Last night we had a chat about Christmas. This year will be a slightly different one. No family visits and wider family meals. No friend visits. No 50000 spectator football match. No concert. No special trips out. No nice country walks. No carol singers. No Father Christmas riding through the village on a tractor collecting for charity and then handing out sweets to the kids. Basically just us, the pets, the house, the garden and one visit from the jolly big fella dressed in red.

It’s still Christmas. Still a time to make memories. Still a time to live. So we make the best of it. Never forgetting those we love the most.

Last year we thought that we had started a new tradition. A trip out on a Christmas Train. A wonderful night trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A beautiful illuminated stream train with even some magical creatures in the passing fields.

So we had planned to do the same this year……

Well it’s not happening. So it’s time for plan b. We have decided that on the same day as last year we will head out on our own polar express. I have some really cheap solar powered Christmas lights. The car will adorned with these. A Christmas music cd will be loaded up on the car stereo. Christmas snacks will find their way into the car. Silly hats and reindeer jumpers will be donned. And off we go on our own polar express. A slow drive around a little used country lane route.

That’s a start. What else can we come up with. What new memories can be born. Always remembering to carry those we love in our hearts as memories are made.

Half term

Well we made it through another 7 weeks of school at home. Thankfully a week free from school now beckons. Oh what bliss. No more trying to explain how to factorise a quadratic equation with a lead coefficient greater than one…… I couldn’t do that when I was a teenager and now, 752 years later I still can’t do it. At least I’m consistent.

I’ve just been reading an old school report from all those years back. Here’s an edited summary.

  • Attendance 100% – which is odd as I can remember at least one day when I attended the morning register and then went back home at break time as my parents were both at work…….
  • Behaviour ‘exemplary’ – pretty easy to get that when you bear in mind that in our class we would eventually compromise one murderer, one attempted murderer, 2 convicted armed robbers, a burglar, someone who blew up the teachers desk (and got expelled) and a kid who set fire to the church hall.
  • School Honours – ‘Elected school prefect’ – which was news to me, I never knew that. Maybe it happened on one of the afternoons I was nicking off.
  • Maths – ‘very capable but seems to lose interest very quickly’. But it’s maths what do you expect (so speaks the accountant).
  • English – ‘can’t spell’ – I did struggle with that. Still do.
  • PE – ‘Really good at team sports. Captain of the Rugby Team’. We didn’t play a Rugby match that year as Tommy R burnt down the rugby posts before the season started and school couldn’t afford a new set. For some reason we never got invited to play at other schools – were we that bad a school….
  • French – ‘Not very good’ – which is worrying as I was the best in the class at French.
  • Drama – ‘struggles to deliver lines’ – what do you expect I had a stammer…..
  • Biology – ‘Needs to work harder’ – I suspected that referred to my refusal to dissect any living creature.
  • Chemistry – ‘Needs to concentrate during practicals’ – that might have been when I forgot to switch on the fume cupboard and the school had to be evacuated when the alarms went off.
  • Art – ‘He does try hard but’ – the words after ‘but’ are difficult to decipher but I guess they could be ‘but he’s crap….’
  • Geography – ‘he has had a decent year’ – that probably referred to me being able to locate the classroom in the school most weeks. A task clearly beyond some of my class colleagues.
  • History – ‘OK’ – that was it, just a one word report for that subject. Wow must have created a real impression on that teacher.
  • Woodwork – ‘Has some issues’ – another kinder way of saying that I had as much practical skills as a drunk pigeon. Much to the consternation of my dad who was a joiner by trade.

So that was me as a kid. The report was actually a pretty fair representation of the adult I would end up being. In the words of one teacher HAS SOME ISSUES…..

2022

Dad that’s not a bad sky at all”

It’s a grand one Son.

You always say GRAND these days”

It’s just a way of saying something is impressive. It’s a bit like you saying something is sick….

Dad I was thinking about school. What happens if I still can’t go out during next year as well. Maybe I’m not ready to go back until 2022. What happens then?”

Well we just carry on. We’ve coped for most of this year. We just do the same next year then. Although I might have a ZZ Top beard by 2022 .

I so want to see that.”

Make a change for you. Having a Dad who looks cool….

That’s never happening. As you would say Dad. You are a Grand Muppet.”

You never know. One day….

Dad is that your mobile Dad going off.”

Yes it is. A message. Oh look they have rescheduled our Ozzy concert. Was supposed to be next week but they have put it back to October 2022. Time for me to grow a proper beard.

Dad time for me to maybe venture out again…”

Moon

Another one of those dark days. But at least it’s not like yesterday…

It’s definitely one of those days that it’s difficult to work out how far we have got through this week. Think it’s Thursday. Possibly.

I was outside this morning trying to do my yoga session. I’m sure the yoga vibes lose a bit of meaning across the miles. I follow someone who leads yoga instruction from Austin, Texas. Often she is on a mat outside in the blazing sun. Meanwhile I load up the video desperately trying to keep the iPad dry in the driving rain. The yoga mat is covered in puddles. Any exposed skin is risking frostbite and I’m thinking that two wooly hats was definitely not enough. Don’t you just love Yorkshire. Inside is not a viable option as I can see a dog and cat looking through the window, just waiting to excitedly pounce.

We were outside last night having a late night chat. It was dark, cold, windy and damp.

Dad why on earth do we live here?”

Absolutely no idea son. I was thinking exactly the same thing.

We could be sat outside somewhere with T-shirt’s on. We could even be in The Alps walking about in beautiful snow.

Meanwhile Hawklad we are grimly walking around trying to keep warm while wearing 9 million layers. The waterproofing on our coats has long since been jet blasted off.

Dad we sound like a right couple of misery heads…..”

I think it’s a Yorkshire thing. That’s why Wallace and Gromit always sound so depressed and seek solace in Wensleydale Cheese.

Dad NASA are about to make a big announcement about the Moon. Wouldn’t it be funny if Wallace and Gromit were right and the Moon was made of Wensleydale or Stilton cheese.”

Maybe they have found intelligent life there. That would confirm its alien not human…… No one intelligent would choose to live in this weather.

Dad well it’s better than living on the moon. I hear the atmosphere is quite bad there!”

Five words

White cloud over a tree. That’s five words….

We tried a new game yesterday. Try to describe things, people, events in just five words or less. It’s a nightmare. Well a nightmare for me. Hawklad wisely decided to just ask the questions and leave the mental hernia to me. It started off very sensibly for example a Rose was ‘a flower with sharp thorns’. York was ‘a historic northern english city’. Sadly it went down hill rapidly.

My football team – can’t win a thing, USELESS

Cricket – Red ball aimed at sticks

Golf – excuse to wear silly trousers

Brexit – well that’s on plan, NOT

Gardening – OW that hurts

Yoga – that’s not supposed to bend

School – best done in bed

Boris Johnson – Lazy, corrupt, so called leader

Trump – can’t find his tax return

Calculus – number witchcraft

Red – my face after a workout

Lord of the Rings – chucking a ring at volcanoes

The Hobbit – some blokes lost a ring

The Silmarillion – absolutely no idea what’s happening

A Dinosaur – imagine your Dad just younger.

You Dad – a walking gnarly old fossil

The Terminator – Austrian speaking walking remote control

Chess – Draughts or Checkers with attitude

Twitter – being nasty with limited characters

Facebook – an excuse to photograph breakfasts

Star Trek – don’t beam down with Kirk

Star Wars – Star Trek but way longer

Gravity – Add Falls for cool cartoon

Real Gravity ….. – Reason my body is saggy

Philosophy

In England we like winding country roads. But occasionally we get a straight one. Like here, almost a French feel to this.

A week ago I was driving along this road and suddenly had a thought. Always dangerous with me. So I parked up and stood by the side of the road. I wonder what the passing drivers thought I was up to. Given the brakes going on the cars, maybe they thought I was a speed camera operative. About 20 years ago I was a civilian manager in a Police Force. It was decided that the handheld speed cameras needed replacing. To cut a long story short the traffic police were asked to test 6 different cameras under similar conditions. Six police cars went to a known speeding zone. Can you imagine the panic on the unsuspecting drivers who screamed over the brow of the hill to be confronted immediately by 6 police officer stood next to each other, pointing 6 cameras at the speeding car. Ones bad enough BUT SIX.

Anyway enough of speeding cars having the worst 5 seconds of their week.

I’d stopped to look at the lane because I had suddenly realised that I had been up and down this road thousands of times over the years and I had never really stopped to look at the beautiful trees. So that’s what I did. But then another random thought struck me. All about which direction to head in. Not easy to choose here as there are so obvious signposts. So left or right – no idea. Bit like life somedays. No obvious direction. Then a smile. My first bit of philosophical thought in years. Why not just head off in the opposite direction to which way your bottom is currently pointing. Yes that works for me.

Weekends

It’s almost the weekend, time to enjoy ourselves. Definitely feels like I should be a Fun Guy! Obviously being restricted to the house and garden doesn’t give me Mush Room to do that.

Sorry!!!!!!

Before March weekends felt special. Different. A week of classrooms for Hawklad and work for me – we needed the weekend. So we crammed it with stuff we couldn’t fit into the week. Football, walks, movies, Xbox, games, talking, visiting family, trips out, food outside and talking in the garden. Weekends were fun, unique, different.

Now it’s all changed. Seven months of family lockdown have seen to that.

No trips to school. No work for me. Home all the time. Some stuff is now beyond us. But other stuff is still there but now it can happen any day of the week. Suddenly weekend stuff is happening on a Monday, Tuesday…… Its often the same routine across all 7 days. Weekends don’t feel so special now. They certainly don’t feel that different.

That Truffles me because I have a Lichen for the weekend .

We definitely need to work on this. Recapture the weekend. Make them special again. As a start let’s try the trampoline on Saturday. Let’s have an extra long game of football and chat in the garden. Lets get the table tennis set out. Let’s find a special movie for Saturday. We can do this.

Kind

It’s autumn and the leaves are falling. Here when they fall they undertake a kind of heroic mass migration. They migrate to our front lawn. Has to be our lawn, never any of my neighbours. These fallen ones have just started their journey heading inevitably to just below our front window. Then they like to stay put. That’s so very kind of them.

I’ve been trying to be kind to myself as well. If I’m happy then I will be a better parent. Trying to find enjoyable things to do. Maybe discover some new hobbies. One of which is learning to play the piano. Finally making use of an electronic keyboard which has been basically just gathering dust. The piano tuition app I’m using is good. Quickly I can now start to read music. I can play a rustic version of Ode To Joy. But I couldn’t understand why the piano app kept talking about one key being middle C when with my careful marking out of the keys came up with a different answer. Then the penny dropped. Can you spot the deliberate mistake in the pink scrawls……

What a muppet. Ok the app might be right…..

Wet

It’s the perfect day to try to hand wash. Even better for drying said washing.

Under that bench cover is the washing. Marvellous…..

The washing is even too wet for the radiators and getting wetter.

I wonder if you can microwave washing?

Could I cook the washing at 200C?

Maybe if I run about really fast with it over my head it might dry?

Maybe I could hop on a plane and dry it in a warmer climate.

Or I could just say pants to it, leave it out in the rain. Shrug my shoulders and go eat some chocolate. Yes that sounds like a plan.